Did you know that one of the most common skin conditions happens to be one of the least diagnosed? More than 16 million Americans suffer the effects of rosacea, which can include visible blood vessels, bumps or pimples, and a perpetual flush across the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. Often, it’s mistaken for something else, like acne or an allergic reaction. To make matters worse, there are so many triggers that can make matters worse: hot or cold weather, spicy foods, and even trying to cover up redness with makeup. Not to mention the psychological effects—studies conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that 76% of patients with the condition said it lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem.
While rosacea can’t be cured, it can be controlled with a gentle and consistent skin care routine, according to Kate Somerville, esthetician and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts. Somerville recently shared some advice on what to look for in skin care and makeup products, to help keep rosacea under control and get back to feeling confident in your own skin.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to irritate skin that’s already irritated. “People with rosacea should avoid anything with retinol (a chemical form of vitamin A) and AHA (alpha hydroxy acid, an exfoliant that can cause puffiness or slight irritation), and sulfates (which can strip skin of moisture), all of which can be harsh on skin,” says Somerville. Instead, look for sulfate-free cleanserswith skin-soothing ingredients like aloe or cucumber. To treat acne, use a cleanser with B vitamins and phytic acid and spot-treat blemishes with either benzoyl peroxide or something like Somerville’s EradiKate Acne Treatment; both are less irritating than salicylic acid. Weekly exfoliation is an important step, too, but choose exfoliators with gentle lactic acid rather than beads or shells to help avoid irritation. If skin is really inflamed, skip acids altogether and stick to soothing cleansers and fragrance-free moisturizers (look for ones with sunscreen, please!) until it calms down. Your skin can still be dry, oily, or combination with rosacea, so pick a moisturizer that suits your skin type.
Gentle cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Gentle moisturizer with SPF 15: Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Gentle exfoliator: Kate Somerville Clinic to Go Resurfacing Peel Pads
Somerville highly recommends mineral makeup to people with rosacea, since it contains fewer harsh ingredients than liquid-based products. Mineral foundations and powders do a good job covering up redness, as well as wrinkles or blemishes (pure minerals reflect light to blur imperfections). Somerville also suggests cleaning your brushes twice a week or using disposable makeup sponges to cut down on inflammatory bacteria.
Mineral makeup with SPF: Jane Iredale Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder SPF 20
Skin-brightening mineral makeup: Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation